SHAPE Finds USA Today Article Misleading, and Offers Additional Consumer Guidance

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The Scientific Advisory Board of SHAPE – the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication, feels it is necessary to properly educate healthcare consumers, and to prevent misrepresentation of the latest scientific advancements for heart attack and stroke prevention.

In reply to Liz Szabo’s February 21st article (Healthy skepticism….) in USA Today, members of the Scientific Advisory Board of SHAPE – the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication, feels it is necessary to properly educate healthcare consumers, and to prevent misrepresentation of the latest scientific advancements for heart attack and stroke prevention. Consumers with complete information will have a better chance to draw their own conclusions if they hear factual debates, rather than one sided stories.

SHAPE feels this story promotes the continuance of the ineffective status quo – continuing to do the same things again and again, but expecting different results. Measuring cholesterol and blood pressure is not enough to detect who is at risk of a near future heart attack. In fact, relying solely on traditional risk factors (blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, etc.) is misleading, and misses a large proportion of asymptomatic high risk (vulnerable) individuals. Non-invasive imaging tests detect hidden plaques, and have consistently shown to provide a more accurate way of cardiovascular risk assessment. If we truly want to empower consumers to take care of their own heart health, they should know their risks and be informed of their choices – unfortunately, the status quo does a very poor job in identifying the asymptomatic vulnerable patients.

If victims of heart attacks and stroke knew their risk in weeks or months prior to the event, they would have been more likely to take preventive measures. In fact, the EISNER Study recently published large randomized clinical trial in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology
( indicated that once alerted to their true risk of heart attack, high risk and vulnerable yet asymptomatic individuals exhibit higher levels of compliance to therapies than the general population with risk factors who are unaware of their atherosclerotic plaque status, and over a 4 year period showed improvement in overall cardiovascular risk. This alone can have an enormous impact on reducing the incidence of heart attack.

Cardiovascular disease kills 1 of 3 Americans after age 50, and over half of the time, the disease is silent and patients have no idea that they are at risk. Consumers and their primary care / family physicians should take charge of cardiovascular disease prevention and they can do so by knowing if there is hidden plaque in coronary or carotid arteries, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

The answers are provided by the two preventive tests which the SHAPE Task Force recommends: Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring using CT scan, and Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT) including Plaque Detection and Measurement using ultrasound, in patients at intermediate risk based on their combined risk factors. Both are fast, inexpensive, accurate, and non-invasive. The CT has low radiation, and the CIMT has no radiation at all. These procedures were both elevated to strong level 2A status, despite Dr. Nissen’s feelings to the contrary, in November 2011 by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines, as indicated on pages 20 & 23 of:

SHAPE is continuing their scientific quest for best practices in heart attack prevention and eradication. Since SHAPE is an educational nonprofit only, there is no agenda for specific practices or procedures – only what is most effective. SHAPE is currently supporting the Department of Health & Human Services Million Heart initiative to prevent over a Million heart attacks over the next 5 years.

About the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE):
The mission of SHAPE ( ) is to eradicate heart attack by championing new strategies for prevention while advancing the scientific quest for a cure. The focus of SHAPE is on the asymptomatic vulnerable patients who are unaware of their risk. SHAPE believes the status quo is unacceptable and must change. In addition to detection of risk factors of atherosclerosis, medical professional must pay attention to atherosclerosis itself. Individuals without alarming risk factors but with hidden plaque (asymptomatic atherosclerosis) must be treated and alerted to their high risk. Through educational programs presented to both healthcare professionals and to the community, SHAPE raises awareness about primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases manifested by heart attack and stroke. The vision of SHAPE is a world free from heart attack.

Members of the SHAPE Scientific Advisory Board include:

Arthur Agatston
Creator – South Beach Diet
Associate Professor of Medicine
University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine
Miami, FL

Daniel S. Berman, M.D.
Director of Cardiac Imaging and of Nuclear
Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai
Los Angeles, CA

Matthew Budoff, M.D.
Vice President, Society of Atherosclerosis Imaging,
Professor of Medicine and Director of Preventive
Cardiology, UCLA Harbor
Los Angeles, CA

Michael H. Davidson, M.D.
FNLA Professor, Director of Preventive Cardiology,
The University of Chicago Pritzker School of
Executive Medical Director, Radiant Research
Chicago, IL

James Ehrlich, M.D.
Clinical Associate Professor
University of Colorado
Denver, CO

Raimund Erbel, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
University of Essen
Director of Department of Cardiology
West German Heart Center
Essen, Germany

Ehrling Falk, M.D.
Department of Interventional Cardiology
Skejby University Hospital
Aarhus, Denmark

Steven B. Feinstein, M.D.
Professor of Medicine and Director of
Division of Cardiology, Rush University Medical
Chicago, IL

Jeff Fine, M.D.
J & J Medical, LLC
Columbia, SC

Craig Hartley
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

Harvey S. Hecht, M.D.
Harvey S. Hecht, MD, FACC, FSCCT
Professor of Medicine
Associate Director of Cardiac Imaging
The Mount Sinai Medical Center
New York, NY

Howard Hodis, M.D.
Professor of Cardiology and Preventive Medicine
Professor for Molecular Pharmacology and
Director of Atherosclerosis Research Unit at the
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Keck School of Medicine University of Southern
Los Angeles, CA

Sanjay Kaul, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Cardiology Fellowship Training Program
Director, Vascular Physiology and Thrombosis
Laboratory at the Burns and Allen Research Institute
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA

Iftikhar J. Kullo, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Division of Cardiovascular Disease
College of Medicine
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN

Marge Lovell , R.N., C.C.R.C., C.V.N., B.Ed.        
Clinical Trials Nurse, Vascular Surgery
London Health Sciences Centre

Roxana Mehran, M.D.
Professor of Medicine and Director of Interventional
Cardiovascular Research and Clinical Trials, Mount
Sinai Heart, the Zena and Michael A. Wiener
Cardiovascular Institute
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
New York, NY

Ralph Metcalfe
Professor, Mechanical & BioMedical Engineering and Mathematics
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Houston
Houston, TX

Morteza Naghavi, M.D.
Founding President
Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication
CEO, Fairway Medical Technologies, Inc.
Houston, TX

Tasneem Z. Naqvi, M.D.
Professor of Clinical Medicine
Director, Echocardiography Services
Medical Director, Non Invasive Diagnostic Services,
USC Cardiac and Vascular Institute
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

Paolo Raggi, M.D.
Professor of Medicine and Radiology
Director, Emory Cardiac Imaging Center
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, GA

PK Shah, M.D.
Chairman of SHAPE Scientific Committee
Chief of Cardiology and Director of Atherosclerosis
Research, Cedars Sinai Medical Center
Professor of Medicine at UCLA School of Medicine
Los Angeles, CA

J. David Spence, M.D.
Professor of Neurology and Clinical Pharmacology,
University of Western Ontario
Director of Stroke Prevention & Atherosclerosis
Research Centre,
Robarts Research Institute
London, Ontario

H. Robert Superko, M.D.
Chief of Medical Affairs – Celera
Adjunct Professor
Mercer University School of Pharmaceutical
Atlanta, GA

Pierre-Jean Touboul, M.D.
Professor of Neurology
Department of Neurology and Stroke Center
AP-HP Bichat University Hospital
Neurology and Stroke Center

For additional information, contact:
Jay Donnella
Executive Director
713-529-4484 or 877-SHAPE11 (877-742-7311)

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